22 February 2010

"The cheque is (not) in the post"

A client of the National Bullying Helpline paid £300 in advance for three hours time-critical work that was not done. The deadline and scope of the task was made clear to Christine Pratt in advance. The client explained that she did not want an assessment (and there was no mention of an investigation), but she wanted advice on how to appeal. On 14/08, seven days before the deadline, Christine Pratt wrote:
"...If we advise you we cannot conduct the Appeal investigation but could probably recommend another person who could.
We would however be pleased to assess your case and help you draw up your appeal. If we need to ask for an extension in time, so be it.
I attach the Agreement for your consideration... We look forward to hearing from you and hope we can assist you with reaching a satisfactory outcome..."
Nothing happened. The client drew up the appeal letter herself; the full chronology is here.10 weeks later after several e-mails and unfulfilled promises of a partial refund, the client wrote again, in the terms below.
27/10
Dear Mrs Pratt,
On 8 Septemeber you assured me that you would be sending me a cheque, and I reasonably expectd that to be the same day or at least the same week, given the circumstances. I sent you a further email on 30 September.
It is now 27 October and I have neither received a cheque nor heard from you. In view of this delay, so far as I am concerned you have renaged on our agreement and therefore I revert to my original position of wanting a full refund of the £300 you were so ready to take from me in the beginning.
Considering everything that has happened, I am finding it difficult to decide whether to refer this matter to my solicitor, Trading Standards, the Advertising Standards Authority, the Charity Commission or the Ministry of Justice. I would be grateful if you could release me from this dilemma by sending a cheque for £300 in the next post. Please note that if you have not refunded the money by 1 November, interest charges will start to accrue at the rate my bank charges me for an overdraft.
Yours sincerely
(client/benefactor)

Christine Pratt replied the same day:

Dear (Client/benefactor)

I have placed a cheque in the post for £150. I will put a stop on it.

I have also explained that we spent time on your case and we were not to know that you would resolve matters with your employer in the meantime. I will raise a second cheque tomorrow but it will be for £150.

If you have not received it within, say, 4 days, please call me on the helpline number.
Kind regards
Christine Pratt FCIPD FCMI
Chief Executive
The National Bullying Helpline (Charity 1117852)
Helpline: 0845 22 55 787
Mobile: 07...
Website: www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
Patron:(update 22/02/2010- no patrons)
Address: 15 Dorcan Business Village, Nurdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, HELP US, HELP OTHERS
WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERTISE
Wiltshire Business of the Year Finalist 2007/8
Adviser to Sun Newspaper Dear Deidre column
Members of the CIPD, CMI, FSB. THames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wessex Chamber of Commerce
Christine Pratt is a Council Member for the Swindon Chamber of Commerce
Regular Speaker on BBC WIltshire Sound, GWR, Brunel FM, Swindon Community Radio and Radio 5 Live. (update 22/02/2010 - also a regular speaker on BBC, ITV, SKY, CNN others, plus front page coverage in national press)
If you would like to sponsor our Charity please send your cheque to : The National Bullying Helpline at the above address in Dorcan, Swindon .


This email and the information contained in it is intended for the person(s) and or organisation(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please inform postmaster@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk immediately and delete it from your system. Should you wish to be deleted from our database please send an email to unsubscribe@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk

When, on 3 November the client had still not received a cheque, she wrote back:
Dear Mrs Pratt
In your e-mail of 27 October, you said you had placed a cheque in the post for £150, but you were going to put a stop on it and raise a second cheque for £150 that day. This has not arrived, yet I have waited patiently for a week rather than the 4 days you mention.
I re-iterate that my reluctant agreement on 8 September to accept a 50% refund was given in the hope that you would refund the money promptly, which you did not do. We are nearly two months down the line.
Please send me a cheque by guaranteed delivery to arrive by 6 November. Do not send me any more excuses. I do not wish to speak to you on the phone. If the cheque does not arrive by 6 November or it it bounces, I will not hesitate to take the matter up with someone else and seek a full £300 refund.
Yours sincerely
(client/benefactor)

Christine Pratt replied the same day:

Dear (Client/benefactor)
I neglected to put the second cheque in the post as I have been very busy and I do, sincerely, apologise for that. I have no idea what happened to the first cheque which I wrote out and posted personally.
I will put the second cheque in the post tomorrow.
I will say (firstname) that I have found the tone of your emails unnecessarily aggressive and threatening. This is very surprising coming from someone we have helped in the past [note - the client was not helped in the past] You know we run a busy charity and that we rely on donations. I myself work for no salary.
I will post your cheque tomorrow and that will be a close to the matter.
Kind regards
Christine Pratt FCIPD FCMI
Chief Executive
The National Bullying Helpline (Charity 1117852)
Helpline: 0845 22 55 787
Mobile: 07...
Website: www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
Patron: Professor Cary Cooper CBE
Address: 15 Dorcan Business Village, Nurdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, HELP US, HELP OTHERS
WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERTISE
Wiltshire Business of the Year Finalist 2007/8
Adviser to Sun Newspaper Dear Deidre column
Members of the CIPD, CMI, FSB. THames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wessex Chamber of Commerce
Christine Pratt is a Council Member for the Swindon Chamber of Commerce
Regular Speaker on BBC WIltshire Sound, GWR, Brunel FM, Swindon Community Radio and Radio 5 Live.
If you would like to sponsor our Charity please send your cheque to : The National Bullying Helpline at the above address in Dorcan, Swindon .

This email and the information contained in it is intended for the person(s) and or organisation(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please inform postmaster@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk immediately and delete it from your system. Should you wish to be deleted from our database please send an email to unsubscribe@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
The client replied:

7/11 (15:09)
Dear Mrs Pratt
I have not received the cheque you said you would put in the post last week, nor any of the documents I sent you at the outset. which I would like returned to me, guaranteed delivery, insured for £1000.
I have an appointment to see a solicitor for a free half hour consultation, where I intend to seek advice on the best course of action to take in this matter if the cheque and documents are still not with me by then.
Coming from someone who runs what appears to be an anti bullying charity, the closing comments in your e-mail are astonishing. Do you normally try to impart feelings of guilt on clients? I used your helpline and supported your charity with an intitial donation of £10. I have supported and worked for several charities, most recently volunteering with a local (cancer) charity. The £300 fee you charged upfront and banked immediately, half of which you agreed to refund to me in early september... and which I am still waiting for.
Yours sincerely
(client/benefactor)
Christine Pratt replied:

7/11 (17:37)
The cheque has been posted. Email me to confirm safe receipt
Kind regards
Christine Pratt FCIPD FCMI
Chief Executive
The National Bullying Helpline (Charity 1117852)
Helpline: 0845 22 55 787
Mobile: 07...
Website: www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
Patron: Professor Cary Cooper CBE
Address: 15 Dorcan Business Village, Nurdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, HELP US, HELP OTHERS
WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERTISE
Wiltshire Business of the Year Finalist 2007/8
Adviser to Sun Newspaper Dear Deidre column
Members of the CIPD, CMI, FSB. THames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wessex Chamber of Commerce
Christine Pratt is a Council Member for the Swindon Chamber of Commerce
Regular Speaker on BBC WIltshire Sound, GWR, Brunel FM, Swindon Community Radio and Radio 5 Live.
If you would like to sponsor our Charity please send your cheque to : The National Bullying Helpline at the above address in Dorcan, Swindon .

This email and the information contained in it is intended for the person(s) and or organisation(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please inform postmaster@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk immediately and delete it from your system. Should you wish to be deleted from our database please send an email to unsubscribe@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk

Mrs Pratt wrote again on 10th November 08:48:
Dear (client/benefactor)
Please confirm that you have received your cheque
Christine Pratt
The cheque had arrived with a handwritten note, which said:
4/11
Dear (client/benefactor)
Please find enclosed cheque for £150 as a 50% return of your assessment fee due to the fact that you cancelled, having instructed us to assess your case.
Yours sincerely
Christine Pratt

Client replied:
10/11 (18:06)
I have received the cheque and would be grateful if you could return my documents
Thank you
(client/benefactor)
Christine Pratt replied:
10/11
Dear (client/benefactor)
I will try to do this next week when I am next in the office. I am only in for 2 days and then I am away for 2.5 weeks.
Have not had a break for 14 months so much needed break
Kind regards
Christine Pratt FCIPD FCMI
Chief Executive
The National Bullying Helpline (Charity 1117852)
Helpline: 0845 22 55 787
Mobile: 07...
Website: www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
Patron: Professor Cary Cooper CBE
Address: 15 Dorcan Business Village, Nurdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, HELP US, HELP OTHERS
WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERTISE
Wiltshire Business of the Year Finalist 2007/8
Adviser to Sun Newspaper Dear Deidre column
Members of the CIPD, CMI, FSB. THames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wessex Chamber of Commerce
Christine Pratt is a Council Member for the Swindon Chamber of Commerce
Regular Speaker on BBC WIltshire Sound, GWR, Brunel FM, Swindon Community Radio and Radio 5 Live.
If you would like to sponsor our Charity please send your cheque to : The National Bullying Helpline at the above address in Dorcan, Swindon .

This email and the information contained in it is intended for the person(s) and or organisation(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please inform postmaster@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk immediately and delete it from your system. Should you wish to be deleted from our database please send an email to unsubscribe@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
The client replied:
17/11
Documents received - thank you
Christine Pratt replied:
17/11
Thank you for letting me know.
I sincerely hope you are able to resolve matters and that you find peace in your new career
(note - the client / benefactor had not found a new career)
Kind regards
Christine Pratt FCIPD FCMI
Chief Executive
The National Bullying Helpline (Charity 1117852)
Helpline: 0845 22 55 787
Mobile: 07...
Website: www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk
Patron: Professor Cary Cooper CBE
Address: 15 Dorcan Business Village, Nurdock Road, Swindon, SN3 5HY

WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, HELP US, HELP OTHERS
WE HAVE THE EXPERIENCE AND THE EXPERTISE
Wiltshire Business of the Year Finalist 2007/8
Adviser to Sun Newspaper Dear Deidre column
Members of the CIPD, CMI, FSB. THames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Swindon and Wessex Chamber of Commerce
Christine Pratt is a Council Member for the Swindon Chamber of Commerce
Regular Speaker on BBC WIltshire Sound, GWR, Brunel FM, Swindon Community Radio and Radio 5 Live.
If you would like to sponsor our Charity please send your cheque to : The National Bullying Helpline at the above address in Dorcan, Swindon .

This email and the information contained in it is intended for the person(s) and or organisation(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please inform postmaster@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk immediately and delete it from your system. Should you wish to be deleted from our database please send an email to unsubscribe@nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. I see that today the NBH website says that the 'helpline' is back in business even though it was supposed to have been suspended only yesterday.

    Moreover, all reference to previous statements issued regarding the 'No 10' controversy have been removed from the site.

    Bizarre.

    ReplyDelete

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